The recent wildfires on the west coast of the United States caused tremendous devastation that will take a considerable amount of time to heal. Unbeknownst to many in the impacted areas, there’s another blaze coursing through the land, threatening to cause even more harm to a slowly mending population.
Scammers are out in force, looking to prey on the community and profit from the misfortune and concern of others. These evil scumbags show up in person at a resident’s door or over the phone pretending to be building contractors, from a government agency or employees of other helpful organizations. They might seek to help with repairs to a home, request donations to help victims of the fire, or ask for information such as social security numbers and banking information.
The person asking for money or information may not be from the organization he or she claims to be. Some residents in the area have given these scoundrels what they’ve ask for without verifying identity. That’s a serious mistake that will not only cost a person hard-earned money, but could also compromise that person’s identity. While the loss of money can be devastating, the loss of one’s identity could be far worse.
Once a scoundrel has an individual’s personal information, the thief can apply for loans and even commit crimes in someone else’s name. The theft of a person’s personal information can have long-term consequences that may never fully disappear.
Before giving anyone who shows up at a door or calls on a phone anything, verify that person’s identity. Ask to see a photo ID or call the organization the person claims to be with. Don’t be afraid of offending the person by asking. It’s your money and personal information, and thieves are counting on your trust to fool you into giving them what they want.
Always verify the identity of the person asking you for something before handing it over. It could save you from a lifetime of regret.